From: Phil Clapham (
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 14:08:02 EDT

Hi Beth:

Good question. It's basically the same as with us - there's a feedback
mechanism involving carbon dioxide buildup which reaches a certain level
(threshold) and cues the whale to surface for air.

Phil Clapham

Beth Nelson wrote:
> Dear Mr. Clapham,
> Hi! I am Beth Nelson and I go to Thayer Academy and I am in the
> 6th grade. In biology, we are studing whales. I have a question about
> whales. I was wondering, how does a whale know that it is time to come up
> to the surface for air? I hope that you can ansewer my question but if you
> can't, that's ok. Thanks a bunch!
> Sincerely,
> Beth Nelson


Phillip J. Clapham, Ph.D. Large Whale Biology Program Northeast Fisheries Science Center 166 Water Street Woods Hole, MA 02543

tel (508) 495-2316 fax (508) 495-2066 Internet:

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